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Star Control: Origins - Star Control reboot from Stardock

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Dr Tomo, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. Lhynn Arcane

    Lhynn
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    So is the game good? or just the drama.
     
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  2. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    To be honest, setting aside all of the legal questions (which seem beyond what can be productively debated on an RPG forum when they are being ably litigated in court), it strikes me that the real moral question is whether PR&FF actually intend to make Ghost of the Precursors. Since November 2017 they have run a blog dedicated to their litigation with Stardock. The first post on that litigation blog is what is described as the announcement of "Ghosts of the Precursors™," a game supposedly in actual development ("We are working on a direct sequel ..."). That same post asserts the game will feature "genuine Ur-Quan, Precursors, Super-Melee, Umgah, VUX, Supox, THE ULTRON!, Druuge, Arilou Lalee'lay, Orz, Androsynth, Rainbow Worlds, Ilwrath, Syreen, Mmrnmhrm, Yehat, Shofixti, Spathi (including the ever-terrified Fwiffo), Umgah, Melmorme,Chmmr, Earthlings, Mycon, THE MARK II!, Slylandro, Utwig, Thraddash, Zoq-Fot-Pik, VUX Beast, Pkunk, the Keel-Verezy." Less than a month later, the second post announced: "When we started Ghosts of the Precursors™ we were looking forward to spending our time on fun, creative work, not fighting a legal battle to protect ourselves and our work."

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    In the 14 months since the blog began, there's only been one post about "fun, creative work" on developing the newly trademarked game featuring all of the "genuine" versions of the alien races now the subject of the lawsuit (i.e., first post), and there have been a bazillion posts relating to intellectual property and litigation.

    It seems to me that if PR&FF really were trying to return to making a direct sequel to SC2, and were derailed by lawfare from Stardock, the moral equities are very different than if this "direct sequel" with "genuine aliens" and a (tm) after it was simply the first stage of the litigation that has otherwise been the only development subsequently discussed on the blog. (I note in passing that the announcement of the game was entitled "Launch Fighters!")

    Star Control II is a game that means a lot to me, and I always thought PR&FF's listing of all their inspirations in the manual (even if a concept perhaps borrowed from Appendix N) was a real class act. So was their generous support of The Ur-Quan Masters, and of their fanbase in general. (IRC chat logs of their hanging out with fans?) I admire the two of them, and wish I had a scintilla of their talent. Anyone who thinks SC2 is not a miracle of design, creativity, and technical know-how is a schmuck. And while they had help from others, it was their game, as no one seriously disputed until this dumb litigation. So I cut them a lot of slack and give them a lot of benefit of the doubt. Still, 14 months without even a blurb as to what Ghosts of the Precursors is about (and no concept art, no WIP screenshots, no dialogue mockups, etc.) doesn't seem like development at all.
     
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  3. Mustawd Arcane

    Mustawd
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    It seems strange to me that you’re assuming blog posts are required for development to be underway.
     
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  4. Elestan Educated

    Elestan
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    It seems strange to me that anyone expects the game to have been started yet. As near as I can tell, this expectation grew out of a number of posts by Brad where he keeps pointing to a lack of tangible work on GotP as though it were cause for suspicion.

    But a few moments' thought reveals that P&F would have been very foolish to have done any work on the game so far. Consider:

    Any work performed between the time Toys For Bob (their company) was acquired by Activision in 2005, and the time they officially went on leave (which appears to be October 2017) would have been subject to their employment agreement with Activision. Such agreements, at least in the United States, routinely include an IP assignment clause for any creations relating to their employer's business (video games, in Activision's case), even if performed in their own free time outside of work. So any work they did during this time could have given Activision a claim on their game.

    By October 2017, and ever since then, Stardock has disputed P&F's rights, such that there is a cloud of doubt over what they will or will not ultimately be allowed to do. Any work that they might do during the litigation would be at risk of being either confiscated or prohibited from release. The Judge's recent ruling pointedly reminded Stardock of this:

    Given that, I see no reason that anyone should expect any progress on GotP prior to the end of the lawsuit. After we know how the lawsuit ends, I expect to see an update from P&F essentially picking things up from the point of their original announcement, explaining any adjustments that will be necessary as a result of its effect on their rights, and on their financial situation.
     
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  5. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    Mustawd ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ That's usually what you do on a development blog, though obviously not on a litigation blog. For a brief moment it appeared to be the former.

    Elestan In October 2017, the game was in development (albeit "early in development") and the next post, when it became a litigation blog, said "[w]e’ve been waiting 25 years to make Ghosts of the Precursors for our fans and we certainly won’t let this stop us." It seems a fair inference from those two statements that the game was in development and development wasn't going to stop.

    If I have a dog in this fight, it's PR&FF, but it matters quite a bit to me whether GotP is/was a real game in real development or an ashcan copy (a term I didn't know until two minutes ago, but learned thanks to my recollection of the ye olde Fantastic Four movie) because that's the difference between creative geniuses who were stymied in creating a sequel to a beloved franchise and creative geniuses who stymied someone else from releasing a pseudo-sequel that he had dreamed of making for decades. The latter may be lawful and even appropriate -- creators sometimes are very protective of their creations -- but it is less comfortably okay than the former.
     
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  6. Mustawd Arcane

    Mustawd
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    Meh it depends on the blogger in terms of how regular they update it with game news. Also, I’d add that there seems to be an information war going on right now. Stardock is saying negative things about P&F and vice versa. I don’t read the blog, so I can’t speak to how retarded it is or not, but if I were in their shoes I’d be trying to correct the record and putting out my side of the story as well.

    Obviously, because they are in the middle of litigation that is what everyone is talking about.
     
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  7. Elestan Educated

    Elestan
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    I think it's a "P&F Blog", the topic of which can vary.

    That's parsing their words a little fine, IMHO. "Early in development" could be along the lines of "Day 1: Make a blog announcement". "Day 2: Brainstorm ideas for the gameCall the lawyer"

    I suspect that they were hoping the matter would be quickly resolved, rather than turning into protracted litigation.

    P&F would have had absolutely no reason to make an "ashcan copy", as those were only ever necessary for maintaining trademarks (which lapse if not used regularly). P&F's rights to the UQM universe are protected by copyrights, which won't expire until most of us are dead.
     
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  8. Zombra An iron rock in the river of blood and evil Patron

    Zombra
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    Make the Codex Great Again! RPG Wokedex Strap Yourselves In
    I guess I already said this at the time, but since this was freshly quoted, I'll reiterate that I'm not impressed by a parade of "Remember all those good ideas we had 25 years ago? We're very excited to rehash them!"

    EDIT: Hey mods, what are you doing, I'm not talking about Origins at all, why did you move this here from the Ghosts thread. Move it back.
     
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  9. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    I understood "ashcan copy" to apply more generally as a concept for a work created solely for the secondary benefit of asserting intellectual property rights. In this case, one might wonder whether -- an addition to creating litigation atmospherics -- they were trying to assert trademarks over the alien names, which they list in exhausting detail linked to the "genuine" descriptor. Those names are currently the subject of trademark litigation in the lawsuit, so...

    Anyway, unlike the Shadow, I don't know what is motivating any of these folks, so I just hope everyone really does intend to make their own games and not stop anyone else, and a thousand flowers bloom, etc.
     
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  10. Elestan Educated

    Elestan
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    Stardock is the one who first started arguing that those names were trademarkable. According to P&F, the idea that these names are trademarkable at all is "a dubious claim at best". See their complaint, ¶145.

    P&F may have put those names in their post in response to Stardock making trademark claims on them, but the idea that this was their motivation in announcing GotP is, IMHO, laughable.
     
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  11. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    Well, I hope we can share in that laugh down the road!
     
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  12. Cael Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Cael
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    It was obvious right from the start that stardick didn't have much to stand on. His veritable avalanche of accusations, threats, attacks, vitriol and lawfare all pointed to a person who had much to hide. It is the desperation of a guy who's house of cards is coming down and he is doing everything he can to divert attention from it and outlast his "opponents". His perpetual claim of victimhood made it even more obvious what his problem was. Like all those who has become professional victims, his claims didn't have a leg to stand on. You see it in other professional victims, be it muslims, blacks, Maori, Aborigines, femiNazis, LGBTIWTFLOL!, etc.

    Knowing all this makes those who support the asshole just because they want a in-name-only SC game all the more despicable.
     
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  13. Lhynn Arcane

    Lhynn
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    So on to the actual game. Been playing it for a good 6 hours now. It very simple and repetitive. Tho the humor is actually decent.
    Theres nothing to say really, every resource is abstracted into credits.
    The main gameplay loop is exploration of planets, which is basically mako except every 4 minutes and with worse mobility. "What where they thinking?" is something that keeps going through my mind as i go down to yet another fucking planet.
    The other bulk of the game is spent driving your spaceship, this plays exactly as it did in Mass Effect 3 but slower.
    The fightan is decent, gameplay reminds me of asteroids. Its also discouraged by every npc because mission of peace and whatever the fuck.

    Its just horribly dumb, theres no real complexity, also theres no variety. Two of the things you kinda need if you are ever going to make a sandboxy space game.

    Space rangers is so much better than this shit it isnt even funny.
     
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  14. LESS T_T Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    LESS T_T
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    Codex 2014
    https://www.stardock.com/games/article/493206/star-control-winter-2019-update

     
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  15. LESS T_T Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    LESS T_T
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    Codex 2014
    Back on GOG: https://af.gog.com/game/star_control_origins?as=1649904300

    And another Brad talk: https://www.stardock.com/games/article/493231/star-control-origins-returns-to-gog-and-steam

     
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  16. Elestan Educated

    Elestan
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    This sentence appears to be very carefully worded to lead the reader to conclude that there was a causal relationship between Valve and GOG becoming aware of the nature of the claims, and the game being restored, when in fact those events could be entirely unrelated. It is entirely possible, for example, that Stardock agreed to indemnify those companies from any liability they incur by restoring the games, which would leave them no reason not to do so, but which says nothing at all about their opinion of the merits of the claims.
     
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  17. Incendax Augur

    Incendax
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    My biggest gripe with this game is the combat camera.
    Yes, it's essentially the same as SC2. But the giant asteroid ring means I constantly crash into shit because I can't see where I am going. You used to crash into shit in SC2, but there was WAY LESS SHIT to crash into. Now, crashing is almost guaranteed because of the asteroid ring.
     
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  18. Cael Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Cael
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    Typical stardickspeak. Guy's a liar and every time he opens his mouth, he proves it.
     
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  19. LESS T_T Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    LESS T_T
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    Codex 2014
    https://steamcommunity.com/games/starcontrolorigins/announcements/detail/1726470448330266702

     
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  20. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    I'm enjoying this but can't help but feel it would play better with a gamepad than keyboard+mouse. Does it?
     
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  21. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    Game got a lot more fun when I got the AI combat module
    :M
     
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  22. TheDiceMustRoll Game Analist

    TheDiceMustRoll
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    Here's an unbiased review from almost 40 hours of play:

    It's pretty good, but it feels like a Kickstarter version of Star Control, if that makes sense. A really good one, but...
    Not so much in production values, which are pretty good with quality alien animations, voice acting, lip-syncing etc. But like, it feels like some guy threw up a kickstarter page four years ago and said "Hello, I am (something) from the guys who made Star Control, and I want to do another one!" Then he got a couple mil in funding, and everything felt very promising and then it suddenly did what all kickstarters do and that's reveal the decline in pieces. No death march, dumbed down difficulty, doubling down on the aspect everyone hates and finds extremely tedious and boring.

    Good:
    - Voice acting, graphics, sound design: Manages to look like an updated SCII, but does its down thing. Entering solar systems has this nice whoosh effect and mini-cutscene, most of the races have good music. Nothing that quite sticks out to me like the Infinitron theme, which is the best.
    - Story: Surprisingly good, it presents itself at first as a copy of SCII with an evil alien empire that wants to kill you and you gotta build up allies to stop it, but it's not that, really. The Scryve aren't the Ur-Quan, but they are similar. Think Thaos from PoE vs Sarevok. You do chase the two around the world and undo their plans, but it ends there, similarities wise. The Scryve are a colossal space empire so insanely massive that they're too unwieldy to actually accomplish anything. Lots of power, including aggressive genetic altering of races to suit their needs, but it lies in an impotent and disorganized crumbling empire. Different to the Ur-Quan's fairly benevolent slavery but being forced to abandon shit for the time being to focus on the Doctrinal war.
    - Universe feels more alive. Feels more Star-Trek in that there's shitloads of aliens everywhere. Less like SCII, but I enjoy this change.
    - Lots of solar systems have cool shit on planets. Usually it's either something useful(a free alien ship+crew) or there's little fun things to discover, items, etc. You could, if you wanted to, make a list and bullrush pre-determined loot spots and rake in sweet items and upgrades.
    - You don't need to hunt creatures anymore, which is good, you can still sell their meat. All upgrades are gathered by docking at Precursor starbases, which both provide you with warping around the map and upgrades. And fuel. And shops.

    Bad:
    - If you don't like planetary exploring, then don't buy this game, because you're going to sending landers onto planets a lot. The controls are much more improved from similar games, it certainly handles better than the FUCKING MAKO, but if you don't like it...eh, fuck it. You aren't going to like this game.
    - Combat is more heavily emphasized due to rewards from combat being fairly substantial. Piss-easy fights would frequently drop 1000+ RU into my stores like it was nothing. There's much more combat than most runs of SCII, but there's an achievement for "benevolent" runs, so I dunno. Crew members are also free. There's less, in general, thinking about cost and returns when you're exploring, and I really liked the tension and the sadness from limping back to SC HQ in SCII and having to drop thousands of hard-earned cash for upgrades on replenishing crew, ships, fuel. Now that shit is piss easy to come by and fairly cheap.
    - I've found so many planets with 10k+ in resources on them, too. The galaxy feels more "Loot!" than SCII. There's only two planets with anything close to that in SCII, and it's only 5k, and one is in the middle of Kor-Ah space and the other is a firestorm that will instagib any landers that land on it.
    - No Death March. Some people might like this, but it does mean that the game is more designed around the fact that you can bomb around the galaxy, looking for cool shit on planets. I have 140k RU and the best weapons, fleet ships and everything else in the game. It's only been like, 8 hours too. So there's a bigger emphasis on taking your time, looting planets and completing quests than there is in completing quests quickly, the completion of which give you immediate tangible rewards.
    - For some reason, unlike the original II, there's friction in solar systems. ????????????????


    Summary: It's actually pretty good if you don't mind a silly/douglas adamsy kind of take on exploring the universe. You can feed crewmates to aliens and then make jokes about it when Star Control commander lady yells at you about it, which is Incline, but there's no real punishment for doing so, which is decline. Game is well suited as a short burst time-waster, you can just load the game up and explore a couple solar systems, kill aliens, etc.

    Buy it if you don't think you'll get extremely tired of the planetary rover gameplay very fast.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
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  23. Cael Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Cael
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    There is friction in hyperspace in SC2. Try flying through hyperspace manually and you will see it. No friction in real space, though.

    The resource management at the beginning of the game is most of the fun of SC2. Getting into fights is daunting because you are likely to lose more than you gain, at least at first. Fully equipping your flagship is a major achievement by itself, and landing on planets is a loss/profit calculation you have to make. Going on long journeys is a calculated risk as well. These factors are what made SC2 such a unique game and a big part of why it is a classic. Take them out and, well, we might as well play SC2 melee.
     
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  24. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

    Unkillable Cat
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    Codex 2014 Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Yes, but is it your review? Because most of us still remember your little episode from just a while back, and this is quite a turnaround.

    Oh, and there's a factual error in there:

    The top 20 mineral-richest worlds in SCII all have over 7k worth of minerals, and the top ones have over 12k worth. Most of them are deathtraps in one form or another, but that's only to be expected because of Risk vs Reward.

    Doesn't change the fact that the SC:O is so much more about "Loot!"-worlds, and the decision to change the resource distribution to make a clearer distinction between scarce worlds and rich worlds is done poorly in my opinion.
     
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  25. TheDiceMustRoll Game Analist

    TheDiceMustRoll
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    *shrug* Gave the game a closer look and I'm generally more irritated at Fred and Paul over the DMCA bullshit than I am at Brad at this point.

    Best get editing then, because they fucked up big time on the UQM wiki.
     
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